The beauty of the Cricket World Cup is that the greatest teams in the world face off against lineups that are not so powerful. Yet, the weaker teams pose a threat to every team. These teams make their way to the World Cup by playing various tournaments and they dream of leaving their mark on the mega-event.
Though the number of Associate Nations taking part in the ongoing World Cup is zero, many such teams have raised the prestige of this tournament. Teams like Scotland, the Netherlands, Bermuda, Kenya, Canada, U.A.E, Namibia and East Africa have all tried to play their best in the World Cup. While some have been unsuccessful, teams like Ireland have been able to obtain Test status with their consistent performances at the World Cup.
In this article, we will have a look at the 3 players of Associate Nations who will be remembered fondly by the fans.
#3 Kevin O' Brien
The man who became the face of the Irish squad with his fiery century against England, Kevin O’ Brien has a special place in the hearts of cricket fans. Kevin and his brother Niall have played a huge role in the upliftment of Irish cricket. The former’s rise to stardom took place in the year 2011 when he played the innings of his life versus England.
All the fans in attendance at the M.Chinnaswamy Stadium were lucky to be treated with a special knock from the bat of this Irish hero. Though Ireland could not qualify for the quarterfinals of the 2011 World Cup, Kevin O’ Brien etched his names in the history books by scoring the fastest century in World Cup history. His 63-ball 113 helped Ireland record a famous win over England.
Also read - Most runs for tenth wicket in world cup
#2 Dwayne Leverock
Bermuda made history by qualifying for the Cricket World Cup in 2007. As West Indies hosted the tournament, the Bermudans got good support from the fans at stadiums. They were a part of Group B along with three Asian countries in Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and India.
The debutants failed in their first World Cup match against Sri Lanka. However, they entered the field with a positive attitude against India. While bowling first, they conceded 3 runs in the first over before a young 17-year-old fast bowler, Malachi Jones made his dream come true by sending Indian opener Robin Uthappa back to the pavilion, on his first ball he bowled in the World Cup.
What was extraordinary about this wicket was the fielder who took the catch, Dwayne Leverock. The huge Bermudan pulled off the catch of the decade while fielding at the first slip versus India. The entire Bermudan unit could not believe it as they celebrated the wicket as if they had won the match.
Leverock was a left-arm orthodox spin bowler who represented Bermuda in 11 ODIs. He had seized the headlines by picking the wickets of Paul Collingwood and Kevin Pietersen in the warm-up match versus England. But, this catch gave him the attention that every cricketer wants.
#1 Sultan Zarawani
United Arab Emirates made their World Cup debut in the year 1996. Their captain Sultan Zarawani was the team’s lone native Emirati, and he was renowned for his fearlessness. Zarawani gave an example of his valor when he came out to face South Africa’s lightning quick bowler Allan Donald without wearing a helmet for protection.
He got hurt by a bouncer from Allan Donald during a group stage match versus South Africa. The fast bowler thought he had slain Zarawani, but the batsman got up and continued to bat without a helmet. He was rushed to the hospital after the match.
The cricket fans of 90s will always remember Sultan Zarawani for his fearless attitude and also the fact he dismissed Sachin Tendulkar in the 1996 World Cup.